Friday will mark the 50th anniversary of one of history’s most important footnotes: the assassination of John. F Kennedy, our nation’s 35th president.
At 12:30 p.m. in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, Kennedy was fatally shot while traveling in a motorcade alongside his wife, Jacqueline. Having not been born for another 24 years after this happened, I have absolutely no insight to offer into the significance of this day. However, I have heard on more than one occasion that this event represented a “loss of innocence” moment for our parents’ generation as 9/11 was to my generation.
On Friday, when the milestone anniversary occurs, you can expect to hear a lot of commentary and articles by people reminiscing about this day, and trying to contextualize its significant within the history of the world. But, also, on Friday, you’re going to hear a lot of elderly people try to explain why the younger generation should care deeply about this.
Unfortunately for them, another big event will occur on that very same day in America: The release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
I am not going to speculate right now, instead I am going to tell you that more people will care about this movie than they will the JFK assassination.
And this is not a slight on the American people. I am not using this as a means to criticize our nation’s priorities, or lack of knowledge or interest in American history. I’m simply stating one fundamental truth: very, very few people have a great interest in things that happened more than 20 years before they were born.
Are people interested in John F. Kennedy? No doubt. Throughout grade school, we were enlightened by our educators of the man’s mystique, his affability, his power to captivate any room during a speech. Even through a grainy, technicolor television screen, it was impossible for us not to be entranced, even charmed, by his eloquence.
On top of that, the circumstances surrounding his death are enough to intrigue even the most tepid conspiracy theorists. We’ve all seen JFK. Come on, don’t tell me you still believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Don’t you dare.
That all being said, John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis will be overshadowed by Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark on Friday.
It will pain older Americans when they realize this. But just because something happened precisely 50 years ago to the day, it doesn’t mean the younger generation, who were born 20, 25, 30 years later, will suddenly care more. Ironically, the only impact the anniversary may have on younger people is that you will probably see #JFK trending nationally on Twitter — which, of course, older people won’t see. Because they still think Twitter is a type of candy bar.
Although, it’ll probably be the second highest trending topic that day, behind, you guessed it — #HungerGames. Or #CatchingFire. Or #PostYourFavoriteSelfie.
Let’s face it. In 2012, the first Hunger Games movie grossed $211 million worldwide during its mid-March release, becoming the highest grossing opening weekend ever for a movie not released during the summer or a holiday. And the sequel is only going to be bigger. Plus, the world has a giant love affair with Jennifer Lawrence. Especially males, after seeing her in yoga pants during Silver Linings Playbook. Google it.
I hope the younger generation — including myself — will view the 50th anniversary as a time to respect and appreciate history, and maybe even do a slight bit of research about Kennedy, even if it’s for a minute. It never hurts to learn something.
Even if it means reading his Wikipedia page while sitting in the theater during the coming attractions before Hunger Games.